Shipon delves into the logistics of conning in Japan in this informative series of… things. First up – Lodgings. Where can you stay in Tokyo when conning, that won’t con you out of your precious doujin/figure cash?

Unlike Shingo, I don’t live within a convenient distance of Tokyo. Whilst he would beg to differ, a 2 hour trip on a local train doesn’t quite compare to a 7 hour local train, 6 hour night bus or $110 (each way) 2 hour bullet-train ride. This means that (unless I’m feeling particularly wealthy) accommodation is required. For many of HD’s readers, this would be your situation as well.

As a result, my trips to Comiket and Wonderfest have required stays in Tokyo, definitely NOT the cheapest place to stay.

Consequently, I’ve gained valuable experience in the pros and cons of different kinds of acommodations and their effect on the con-goer in Japan and I’m gonna lay it all out for you, dear reader.

Cattle Class : Manga Kissa/Net Cafe
For a mere ¥1200 you too can sleep soundly(?) in an internet cafe or manga kissa with a 6 hour night pack. ¥1200 will buy you a seat in the Cafeteria-style area of i-Cafe Akiba Place located conveniently on the Chuo-dori in Akihabara. You get unlimited drink bar (non-alcoholic) but little privacy. For ¥1800 you can enjoy a lovely booth with either a PC with internet or a TV with cable and a massage chair.

For the budget-concious (or cheapskate) con-goer, this is the best option. For under ¥2000 you get a place out of the cold, piles of manga and gravure books, a net connection and a high-calorie caffienated drink bar to kick-start your day. You can also buy options like time in the shower room and such in order to freshen up.
PROS : Cheap. Locations are very good, right near major train stations and districts where hotels cost upwards of ¥40 000 a night. All the major facilities and you can “check-in/out” whenever you like.
CONS : Noisy. Smokey sometimes – non-smoking sections are only separated by a floor. Uncomfortable. Crowded. Good seats (massage chairs, etc) fill up early.
VERDICT : Use as a last resort. You may as well stay in a hostel by the time you buy longer packs and I’ve never had a good night’s sleep in one of these places.

Economy : Hostel
Full of interesting people from around the world and Japan, a youth hostel can be a great way to maximise your dollar in Tokyo when it comes to accomodation. From ¥2800 you can get a bed in a dorm of 8, linen provided with common internet, bathroom and cooking facilities. They tend to be located near stations in interesting parts of the city and the staff can help you out with other logistical needs if your Japanese is non-existent. Try K’s House or Sakura Hostel in Asakusa.
PROS : Cheap. Many have baggage rooms where you can leave your stuff during the day. Meet new people.
CONS : Dormitory living. If you intend to get first trains to places, this may not be the best way to make friends by rattling around at 4am as you prepare to leave. Likewise, those who want an earlier night are at the mercy of the manners of those who stagger in drunk from Roppongi at 1am.
VERDICT : If you’re easy-going, this is the best option you can go with in terms of economy. You can also meet very interesting people in hostels. And hot chicks. But maybe best not to try to impress them by mentioning you’re going to a con to buy futanari doujin.

Business Class : Capsule Hotel
No discussion of Japanese accomodation is complete without mentioning the capsule hotel. A necessary evil for the legions of salarymen who guzzle cheap wine & cheaper whiskey to dull the pain that shatters their hearts and rips at their souls as result of their mindless jobs, and end up missing their last train back to their suburban houses where their alienated wives and children avoid them – that is if they ever see them – the capsule hotel is the convenience store of accomodations.

Enter the lobby, buy a ticket from the vending machine for about ¥3300 and take it to the front desk. After they photocopy your passport (unless you are a cog in the machine that is Japan) they will give you your locker key. Head up to the locker room and deposit your filthy work clothes in a locker, enter the communcal bathroom and bathe Japanese style or use a shower. Return to the locker room and put on a pair of supplied pajyamas. Find your floor & capsule then crawl in, remembering to pull the shutter down behind you. Set the alarm and pass out to the sound of the in-house, mosaiced porn channel or one of the other TV channels. Try Capsule Land in Shibuya.
PROS : Cheap and solitary. Everything you need is supplied for that fee. Convenient to major stations. A cool tale to tell your friends and family. Don’t mention the porn.
CONS : Many capsule hotels don’t allow women. This is because they are not set up to deal with them – sad fact but Japan is Japan, not liberated Western Society where kids bring guns to school. Sometimes they may be full. You can sometimes hear the other occupants snoring, though not often. They don’t have luggage storage, but there are often coin-lockers in the foyer or next door. No internet.
VERDICT : If you have little luggage, this is the best value in my opinion. Ignore the stares of the other people in the communal bathroom – they’re just jealous. Of my rippling muscles. And naturally hairy chest. And back. And palms.

First Class : Hotel
Yep. A straight hotel. You’re look at at least ¥7000 a night for anything convenient. Try booking through major sites like Asia Rooms or Rakuten Travel or going directly to the hotel you want to stay in. Splitting a room is always the cheapest option.

The holy grail hotels for Tokyo conning would be Akihabara Washington Hotel right near Akiba JR Station or Tokyo Bay Ariake Washington Hotel directly opposite the Big Sight.
PROS : Hotels. Awesome. Everything you want. Best night of sleep you can get pre or post convention.
CONS : Expensive. Sometimes not good locations.
VERDICT : If you’re high rolling it or can work out how to write off your trip as a tx expense, this would be the best one.

So there you have it – How to Con In Japan – Part 1. Next time, How To Con In Japan – Part 2.

Shipon lives in Northern Japan where he plots different ways to get out of Northern Japan.